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Not so miraculous

Kusum Kanojia, Nov 16, 2012, DHNS 20:06 IST
Every second commercial on television these days is of ‘miraculous’ cosmetic products that claim to turn back the clock with the promise of taking years off your face by removing wrinkles, fine lines and tightening sagging skin.

The market is flooded with creams and gels with almost every cosmetic brand propagating its product as the best when it comes to fighting off that ageing process.However dermatologists say that a little precaution and doctors’ supervision is needed before using any anti-ageing products as they come with side-effects and can prove disastrous in the long-run even if they make a little impact.

Deepali Bhardwaj, senior dermatologist and cosmetologist, Rockland Hospital, says ageing is an internal process largely, than an external one. So, external application can temporarily delay the process and only initially.

“In actuality, these creams cannot make a difference or a long lasting impact. Most of these products come with added side-effects like thinning of the skin and making it more sensitive over time. In my view, these creams should not be used on a long-term basis,” she says.Anti-ageing products have certain skin lightening and tightening ingredients such as glycolic, alpha-lipolic acid, vitamins and retinoic acid. These are some of the active agents which effectively enhance process of cell renewal. Few chemicals like alcohol, mica, tricolosans parabens etc in these creams can be harmful. Besides, the same product cannot not work across board - for different people have different skin types.

Dr Karuna Malhotra, cosmetologist and homeopath physician at Cosmetic Skin and Homeo Clinic, says anti-ageing creams do produce results but definitely have side-effects. “They help in delay ageing and one can expect some kind of improvement in fine lines and open pores. But anti-ageing creams surely do not help in removing wrinkles. People using these products should know some hidden facts as well before using them,” she says.

“One should use good brands which are dermatologically tested. Going for cheaper products will damage your skin. One should opt for products with natural extracts and co-enzyme Q10 (COQ10) which is a rich anti-oxidant. It not only protects the skin from detrimental effects of free radicals but also helps in enhancing cell renewal,” she adds.

Explaining the science behind these anti-ageing creams, Dr Surendra K Chawla, cosmetic surgeon and senior consultant at Fortis Escorts Hospital, says, “These creams make big claims on the basis of molecules and anti-oxidants or anti-ageing properties. They do help in delaying the process but cannot banish every skin issue.”

“Main science is actually playing with an individual’s psyche as these creams are only topical and when applied cannot be absorbed till the skin’s final layer. The temporary benefits come at a cost of side-effects. The best anti-ageing cream is a sunscreen, and a diet full of green vegetables,” says Dr Deepali.

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